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Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015

Gray Matter: Putting it off until tomorrow

Monday, October 24, 2005

Am I the only one who finds it increasingly easy to "put off until tomorrow" ?  I do that far more often than I like to admit.  But somehow I got a bit of a kick-start the other day and set to work cleaning a long-neglected china cupboard.  I'm glad I did.  As I dusted off so many treasured pieces,  I found myself dusting off  a treasure-trove of memories as well. Most of them involved a very special couple.

In the middle of a block on Main Street in this little town where I live, there is a building, now for sale, which most recently housed a wonderful little coffee shop which we all miss.  Long before that, for many, many years, it was the site of an incredible Jewelry Store.  It belonged to Ray and Louise Niemann, second-generation owners, who did everything the right way. 

As I dusted off a lovely amber glass basket, I remembered it was a gift from my children. No one ever said as much, but I am sure the choice had been subtly influenced by my dear friend behind the counter.  The unique liqueur glasses  I shined up next, I'd gotten on sale there.  My precious little glass ducklings were once on their shelves.  On a sadder note, I polished the rare Vienna pottery vase, the Venetian glass Madonna, and several other choice pieces purchased at their estate sale.  The discriminating taste evident in their home clearly carried over to the things they offered for sale in their store. 

On the lighter side, my friend used to gently tease my husband by saying that, without her urging, I would not have had as nice an engagement ring as I did.   Judging from the grin that evoked, she may have been right.  Hmm!

An experience I had just a few years ago confirmed a theory of mine.  When I  stopped to visit with the family of a friend who had recently died, they were clearing out her house to put it up for sale. The treasures they were sorting and dividing also included those of their grandmother.  These folks were amazed to find that, in spite of the fact that theirs had not been an especially affluent family, the quality of these pieces was  consistently fine.  That was when I first put my theory into words.

From our town's earliest times, there had been just one place to buy china, glassware, silver and gifts.  No one hitched up the buggy or cranked up the Model-T to go shopping out of town.  They bought the things it took to set up housekeeping, the gifts for family and friends, or their own rare little luxuries in just one store, and this place offered only quality items.  I'm sure they didn't stock a lot of high-end porcelain, crystal or silver, but if someone came in looking for any of that, it would take only a  telegram or two, followed by a quick run of the Flyer from Chicago,  and it would be here.

At least twice each year, for two generations, the store owners had gone on buying trips to Chicago.  At the famed Merchandise Mart and several other outlets, they made discriminating selections on various price levels.  As a result, regardless of what a customer could afford to pay, he would not be buying "junk". 

My young friends saw the logic of my explanation and agreed that it was probably  a true assumption.  I expect any of you readers who remember back that far will readily agree.  I am also quite certain my theory could have applied just as truly to Royer's in Cherokee.

As I look around, I begin to ask myself which task I should tackle next.  There are probably a great many further memories to be triggered.  But my ambition seems to be ebbing so I will probably continue "putting off until a few more tomorrows."